Cromulent Commentator purchased this Volkswagen Golf new for $62,500 (including all on-road costs). Cromulent Commentator wouldn’t buy this car again because: “Mark 8s Don’t really look the part – before the massive increase in expense, before options. As the Special Edition my Golf R had the factory Akrapovic exhaust, sunroof and upgraded Dynaudio stereo amongst all the options.”
The car was reliable, never had an issue with it at all. Servicing was not done through Volkswagen flagged dealerships however beyond the first complimentary one.
I used a specialist European servicing agent instead. They were both upfront and willing to do things I requested, such as changing the oil earlier than the handbook said to. The biggest concern was the longevity of the Continental Sport Contact 5 Tyres. They are not a tyre I rate either in performance or wear.
I waited a long time to upgrade myself to a Golf R, and test drove several other similar cars before settling on the Golf.
Focus RS, a tick from me, but wasn’t well received by my better half as it was “for hooligans”, Audi S3 was massively overpriced in direct specification comparison, but had a very nice interior.
The Honda Civic Type R was over-styled and had a very long wait time, but a back one would probably have hidden most of my objections to the styling. Hyundai i30 N was considered but it was too similar to one of my earlier cars, a Focus ST. Golf R it was.
Little did my wife know that the Akropovic exhaust could be selected to be just as ‘hooliganish” as the Focus was.
So it was driven for the first 20 minutes in Race… and then spent the rest of its time in Comfort, with the exhaust on Race.
Ultimately as explained below there is another reason why I’ve rated this low.
The purchase was well managed, the dealer was selected by a leasing agent, the accessories I ordered with the car weren’t quite so well managed.
The headlight protectors and the things like the dash cam and boot liner weren’t fitted, weren’t supplied, and took a bit of to and fro between myself, the dealer and the leasing agent to sort out.
Servicing was done at a dealership not associated with the sales dealer primarily due to distance.
Yes what I paid for the car in early 2020 was in light of pricing today extremely good. In fact the replacement (Black coloured) Golf in the pictures was $8000 more than what I paid for my Special Edition.
The Black car didn’t have any options at all. It was however the very last Mark 7.5 on sale on the East Coast, and as such the selling dealer had my insurer over the proverbial barrel.
But in isolation, large sunroof, exhaust system, LED headlights, dynamic indicators and so forth were all packaged up in the Special Edition Golf R, and were things that made it nicer, the stereo in particular.
It is (was) a Golf R, much has been written about them and the performance they possess.
I found it to be truly a very well-balanced car, able to drive around normally like a Golf Comfortline if you wished to or go quite considerably faster if you didn’t.
The individual settings allowed more aggressive throttle response, steering feel, suspension setting and of course the active exhaust. I did primarily run the car in comfort with the exhaust in Race.
Like any car, if you hammer it your fuel economy increases, if you don’t it was quite good. My commute is about 30 minutes and if just flowing along and not hurrying anywhere the lowest I saw on the trip computer was 6.2L/100km the highest was 12 on a road out of Sydney northward.
At the time It had a heap of things that weren’t common amongst most cars in 2018.
The dynamic indicators being one, of course being inside you never saw them yourself, but now you can buy modified headlights for your VT Commodore with dynamic lighting, let alone an MG SUV, it’s not really that special. (if it ever was)
Leather interior, digital dashboard, DSG, heated seats and all the safety features are now much more common than at the time. Time moves forward and brings the tech further down the car world with each year.
It was one of the few cars I’ve driven or owned that the active suspension actually felt like it was different depending on the mode. Of course the 19-inch wheels do little to assist the ride on any surface.
The Golf R wasn’t the best handling, or the fastest hatch back, but it was the one capable of being most of both. It was however the only one I drove that had a good ride.
The Focus RS was very stiffly sprung as was the Type R, the Audi wasn’t too bad because it is the same car in effect as the Golf, the Hyundai was quite wild and reminded me of the first Mazda 3 MPS I drove years ago; fun in its own way but not for me this time.
For those of you observant enough to notice, a majority of the photos posted with this review are of a black Golf R that isn’t a special edition. I’ve also toned down my use of anecdotes and hyperbole to suit the sensibilities of others.
The reason for this discrepancy is shown at the end. The sad end to my Golf R.
There were those who found my Golf R more alluring than I did, and unfortunately stole both it and my wife’s car from my house.
The wife’s car died a death in a police pursuit a short while later in 2021. The Golf survived until April 2023. That’s right they stole it and drove it around for two years.
This is the main reason why I wouldn’t buy another, I am not sure I could bring myself to have a ‘nice’ car again for the foreseeable future.